I don’t know what to write. How can you sum up a lifetime of memories and love in to one post? I know that whatever I put won’t even come close to scratching the surface.
Ever since I was born, Grandma lived a few blocks up the road from us. Every day after school, she’d be waiting for me in her red, ’92 Chevy Lumina with the bright yellow Hardee’s star antennae ball waving in the wind. She’d pick me up, ask about my day, and take me back to her house until my mom got off of work and could pick me up. She’d always feed me a snack (usually my favorite at the time, which alternated between ho-ho’s with milk or cheese balls,) and we’d gain our daily ineffable wisdom from Oprah together or play cards. Of course, there were plenty of days where I’d go out to her garden with a pair of scissors and come back in with a bouquet for her. She loved flowers and was always so happy when I brought her in some. She’d tell me the names of the plants I had gathered, and help me fuss over them until we got them perfectly arranged in a centerpiece bouquet for her kitchen table.
Other days we’d play Candyland, Aggravation, or hide and seek. I remember one time where I decided I was going to hide in the hardest place I could find. I ended up hiding in her laundry hamper. She couldn’t find me, and 20 minutes later was still frantically searching the house for me. After a while, she was about to call the police when I finally popped out. I remember us laughing about it, and from then on she always checked the hamper first whenever we played.
Grandma was always at every one of my terribly boring softball and volleyball games, cheering the way she loved to do for all sporting events. She was in the crowd for every concert/jazz/pep/honor band performance, full orchestra concerts, piano recitals, marching band halftime shows, and school plays, as well as national honor society events, handbell choir concerts, church functions and more. She always had time for you. As I got older and went away to college, she was always eager to see me and hear about the latest news in my life. Never once do I remember her turning me away because she was too busy, or she wasn’t interested. I can still perfectly picture the way her face would light up, even at the end, when you sat down to tell her a story, or talk about what’s new in the world. It was like seeing her as a school girl, giddy with excitement, ready for the latest piece of gossip.
One trait I always admired about her is her straightforwardness. She never sugar coated things. If she didn’t like something, you knew. She wasn’t afraid of what others would think, and was her own woman. I remember once she got a picture of me with my prom date. She loved the photo and had it framed. Well a year later, my prom date and I broke up. Grandma was upset, told me what she really thought of him, and proceeded to cut him out of the prom pictures and then re-frame the cut up photos. I remember visiting her the year she moved to the nursing home. The last time I saw her at her house, she still had the mangled photo framed and prominently displayed on the shelf in her kitchen. If someone asked about the photo, she would announce, in a very matter-of-fact way, her distaste for the removed, and tell you that it’s a much better photo the way it is now.
Most importantly though, she was everything a grandma should be. She loved her children and grandchildren to the ends of the earth. She was always kind—even when we certainly did not deserve it. She enjoyed life. Even in her 80’s she was white water rafting, flying in helicopters, traveling to all 50 states, and taking hot air balloon rides. It was her love for life, her kind disposition, and generous soul that make this loss so hard.
There has been a hole in my heart since that Tuesday. I keep finding signs of her everywhere. One of her favorite things in all the world was the cardinal bird. Those that knew her would agree that she had cardinals all over her house. She often would wear sweaters with cardinals on them or would be sporing a lapel pin or purse with one of those bright red birds. Since she passed, there has been a cardinal that visits my porch window every day. Although it brings a pang to my heart, I like to think it’s her, checking in. Waiting for the day’s stories, eager to listen…the way that only the best grandmas do.
One of Grandma’s rings she left me. I have been wearing it every day. The band is so thin and worn down from the years she had worn it.
Grandma’s bible. Copyright year of 1907.
Inside her bible she wrote “Evelyn Alleda Dodge. Terril Iowa. 1940” for her marriage.
“Yea thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…”
Grandma’s four children. From left to right: Leroy, Linda, Bob, and Larry
Her two favorite rings: Her mother’s ring and birth stone ring.
Grandma with her great-grandchild, Cade. April 6th, 2014.
Grandma and me, April 6th, 2014
God saw you getting tired
A cure was not to be,
So He put His arms around you, and whispered, “Come To Me.”
With tearful eyes we watched you and saw you fade away.
Although we loved you dearly, we could not make you stay.
Many times we thought of you, many times we’ve cried,
If love alone could save you, you never would have died.
A golden heart stopped beating,your tender hands at rest,
God took you home to prove to us He only takes the best.
You will be dearly missed.
All photos © Holly Hildreth 2014.